Russia urged to recognize Abkhazia's independence

The parliament of Georgia's separatist region of Abkhazia is calling on Russia to recognize its independence. The appeal - reported Wednesday by Russian news agencies - follows last week's expulsion of Georgian forces from the small sector of Abkhazia that they had controlled. The forces were driven out as Russia and Georgia fought fiercely over another separatist region, South Ossetia. Russia has strongly backed both regions since the mid-1990s, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week that neither region is likely to ever agree to be part of Georgia. His statement was seen as tacit endorsement of both republics' independence or absorption into Russia.